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No. 3 Women’s Fencing Travels to MIT for Beanpot Wednesday

The Crimson look to stay unbeaten in the Beanpot (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – As six-time reigning fencing Beanpot champion, the No. 3 Harvard women's fencing team travels to crosstown rival MIT, Wednesday, Feb. 12 looking to continue as the lone victor of the Beantown tournament and capture its seventh straight crown. Fencing is set to begin at 5:30 p.m.

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Last Time Out
Harvard swept its field of competition on the final day of the Ivy League Round-Robins hosted at Brown's Olney-Margolies Athletic Center to finish the championships with a 5-1 record as the Crimson earned a second-place finished behind the nation's top-ranked Princeton.

Related Link: No. 3 Women's Fencing Finishes Second at Ivy League Round-Robins

Beanpot Breakdown
The Battle of Beantown on the fencing strip began in 2008. Every year since the inception, Harvard has swept the field to hold all six Beanpot titles.

Rank and File
In the initial CollegeFencing360 Coaches Poll, the Crimson women ranked second, the highest seeding of the squad in program history. Harvard has since fallen to the third seed in the Feb. 6 poll.

Related Link: NCAA Fencing Poll

Jarocki is Outstanding
For her undefeated 18-0 performance at the Ivy League round-robins, sabre fencer was named both Outstanding Performer and Outstanding Rookie Performer.  The honors mark a first for the freshman and the Crimson program. The Middle Village, N.Y., native became the first fencer in Harvard history to be bestowed both honors and the first Crimson rookie to be named Outstanding Rookie Performer. Jarocki is the second Harvard fencer to be honored as Outstanding Performer as Caroline Vloka '12 garnered the award in 2011.

All-Ivy Accolades
Six Harvard fencers garnered All-Ancient Eight status with their performances at the Ivy League Round-Robins Feb. 8-9, the most since matching that number in 2007. Sabre fencers Adrienne Jarocki and Aliya Itzkowitz earned spots on the first team while Kara Lee, Alexandra Kiefer, Isabel DiTella and Emma Vaggo received second team nods.

Unbeaten
Since Harvard women's fencing began in 1975 the Crimson has seen 51 opponents on the strip. Harvard has not dropped a match to 28 of its all-time competitors to hold unbeaten records against 54.9 percent of its all-time foes.

And the Award Goes To
Adrienne Jarocki earned National Rookie of the Week honors presented by CollegeFencing360 Jan. 30, marking the first weekly accolade for the freshman. Jarocki as an intricate part of Harvard's sabre squad that went 33-12 to pace the Crimson's 2-3 performance at the St. John's Invitational Jan. 26.

Related Link: Jarocki Named National Rookie of the Week

Face in the Crowd
Aliya Itzkowitz is one of Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd featured in the December 23 issue. The sophomore sabre fencer earned the honor that has been published in every week of the magazine since 1956, after helping the Crimson to its first 6-0 start under head coach Peter Brand since matching that record to begin the 2010-11 season.

Related Link: Itzkowtiz's Featured in Sports Illustrated Faces in the Crowd

North American Cups
Over the course of three months, 14 Harvard fencers took the strip at USA Fencing's North American Cups to compete against athletes from across the United States and Canada attempting to qualify for both the 2014 Senior and Junior World Championships. The Crimson notched three podium finishes. Jerry Chang and Nina van Loon grabbed gold in the Junior brackets in their respective weapons, while Adrienne Jarocki took home silver in the Division I women's sabre.

Related Links: Ten Harvard Fencers Compete at USA Fencing North American Cup, Chang Captures Gold | Five Fencers Compete at December North American Cup | USA Fencing's January North American Cup Features 11 Crimson Fencers

Trust in Brand
Peter Brand enters his 15th season at the helm of the Crimson. Under his guidance, Harvard captured its first NCAA team championship in 2006, won a combined four Intercollegiate Fencing Association three-weapon titles, two IFA six-weapon championships and a combined eight Ivy League titles – three by the women and five by the men. He also coached 37 All-Americans in his time behind the Harvard bench. Brand sports a 197-62 overall record on the women's side and a 54-32 mark against Ivy League foes.

About No. 3 Harvard
The Crimson's 11-4, 5-1 Ivy performance has been propelled by its sabre squad. Adrienne Jarocki and Aliya Itzkowitz lead the way for the sabre fencers with 46-4 and 42-4 records, respectively. Isabel DiTella and Nina van Loon pace Harvard's epeeist's while Alexandra Kiefer leads the way on the strip for the Crimson's foil fencers. 

About Brandeis
The Judges enter the Beanpot at 20-7 after going 2-3 at the Duke Invitational Feb. 9. Brandeis is led by its foil squad that includes sophomore Caroline Mattos who has tallied the most victories for the Judges this season. Sophomore Sonya Glickman and freshman Ashley Jean pace the epee and sabre teams, respectively.

All-Time Versus the Judges
Brandeis was the inaugural opponent for Harvard fencing, who owns a 29-6 advantage in the all-time meetings. The Crimson, currently on a nine-match winning streak, has notched as many victories on three different occasions in the all-time series, but the Judges always puts a stop to Harvard's winning ways to keep the Crimson's win-streak below double digits. Sunday the Crimson will attempt to be the first squad in program history to defeat Brandeis in 10-straight meetings.

About Boston College
The Eagles ride a six-match win streak into the Beanpot. The streak includes Boston College's sweep of the five opponent field at the Eric Sollee Invitational, Feb. 1. The Eagles' epeeists have been the difference on the strip with freshman Renee Bichette and sophomore Olivia Adragna making an impact. In the sabre, sophomore Marnie Krupat leads the way. Foil fencer sophomore Linda Zhang has contributed solid performances this season.

All-Time Versus the Eagles
Harvard has clashed with its cross town rival Boston College 15 times since 1993 and has not dropped a single match against the Eagles.

About MIT
The Engineers bring a 9-19 record into the Beanpot after a 0-5 performance at the Duke Invitational Feb. 9. Underclassmen pace each of MIT's weapons. The sabre squad is led by freshman Cordelia Avery and sophomore Madison Douglas. Sophomores Laura Jarin-Lipschitz and Mounica Paturu pace the Enigneer's epeeist while classmate Cecilia Cisar and rookie Jessica Li have dominated in the foil.

All-Time Versus the Engineers
Harvard will MIT for the 40th time on the strip. The Crimson has downed the Engineers in seven-consecutive matches to hold a 27-12 lead in the one of Harvard's oldest series.

Coming Up
Harvard returns to action Sunday, March 9, at the NCAA Regionals hosted by Wellesley College. The Crimson will look to earn bids to the NCAA Championships later in the month, March 19-23 at Ohio State.